Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 1/16/10

Has anyone out there seen ANYTHING uglier so far in 2010 than the UCONN women’s 91-24 thrashing of Seton Hall a couple of weeks ago–a game in which the losing squad shot 9-for-52 (17%) from the field? I haven’t seen anything THAT ugly since a former roommate of mine at Fordham tried dancing with the head cheerleader of the football team after imbibing 6 or 7 Heinekens at a school homecoming function……….TRIVIA QUESTION: In the history of the NBA, what player has had the highest three-point shooting percentage in a single season? Answer to follow……….Can you imagine if author Dara England married former NFL lineman Doug France, divorced, married Eastern CT. State Univ. basketball guard Ed Spain–divorced again–then married former MLB pitcher Mark Portugal? Fans of European geography would surely delight in her full married name of Dara England France Spain Portugal……….Book recommendation for the readers of this column: OUTSIDE THE LIMELIGHT: Basketball in the Ivy League– written by Kathy Orton of the Washington Post. The book provides keen insight into the love of basketball experienced by TRUE student-athletes–and also gives readers a better appreciation of this captivating conference. To gain more information about the author and this wonderful book in general, go to ……….This week in sports history, January 18, 1950: Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller–a winner of 192 major league games–signs a new contract with the team for $45,000–taking a $20,000 pay cut at his OWN suggestion. Feller was unhappy with his performance over the previous two seasons–when he went a combined 34-19 while pitching close to 500 innings. Feller first appeared in a big league game as a 17-year-old back in 1936 and had enjoyed five 20-win seasons going into the 1950 major league campaign……….Good news and bad news for married men out there who happen to be N.E. Patriots fans. Bad news is the team embarrassed themselves at home last weekend; Tom Brady had the “deer in the headlights” look throughout the game and the players will soon be on the golf course. The GOOD news is that the game was over after the first quarter (24-0 lead for Baltimore)–giving you guys the rare opportunity to take your spouses out for a Sunday drive during football season. Yes, guys, think about it (without telling your ladies about the lopsided score): You could have scored some MAJOR points–in a backhanded sort of way–by demonstrating how spending quality time with them beats a football playoff game ANY day……….The “Unwatchable NBA” Update: How ’bout that game in Los Angeles last week between the Rockets and Lakers–where the two teams combined to shoot 6-for-33 (18%) from three-point range? If the Lakers’ front office people had any collective sense of humor at all, they would have given each fan a copy of Jimmy Breslin’s The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight upon exiting the Staples Center that evening……….Answer to trivia question: STEVE KERR–who made 89-of-170 three-point attempts during the 1994-’95 season for a sizzling percentage of .524……….I STILL say that actress Sharon Stone has aged MUCH better than baseball players such as Ken Griffey, Jason Varitek, or Gary Sheffield……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Jon Matlack–who blows out 60 candles on January 19th. A native of West Chester, PA, Matlack pitched 13 seasons in the “bigs” between 1971 and 1983 for the Mets and Rangers–winning 125 games lifetime. Matlack was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 1972–a year in which he went 15-10 with an impressive 2.32 ERA; he was a three-time All-Star while with the Mets. His highest win total came in 1976 when he won 17 games for New York; he also tossed 30 shutouts over the course of his career. He fared well in the postseason, too–allowing just 12 hits in 25.2 innings while compiling a 1.40 ERA. Best wishes, Jon……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league player/scout Stan Benjamin–who died recently on Cape Cod at the age of 95. A native of Framingham, MA, Benjamin was an outfielder for the Phillies and Indians between 1939 and 1945–appearing in 241 big league games. He later joined the Houston Astros as a scout in 1965–remaining with the team for nearly 40 years. He scouted American League East clubs for several seasons before working as Houston’s scouting supervisor for the Northeast. Benjamin was very instrumental in Houston’s acquisition of Jeff Bagwell from Boston (for pitcher Larry Anderson) in 1990 after having scouted Bagwell very closely. May Stan Benjamin rest in peace.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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